Bryan Wright is a book reviewer with the blog "Reading 100 All TIME Novels". He previously was on the CBC Eyeopener in Calgary on AM1010 with a weekly program. I want to thank him for reading it, as this book was far out of his normal reading list, but I appreciate his comments immensely! For more information on Bryan Wright, or on his current mission to read the "100 All TIME Novels" from a list compiled by TIME magazine, check out http://readingalltimenovels.blogspot.com/.
Here is Bryan's review of my novel:
"Mikayla Rivers is the newest sensation on the music scene; major celebrity, highly regarded, and wealthy. But she’s also twenty years old, recently dropped out of University, unsure of herself or her celebrity status, and she has a broken heart.
And so starts Tanned, Toned and Totally Faking It by Calgary author Whitney Boyd. Far from my typical read, it offered me a chance to dip into a new genre, so to speak, and enter the world of ‘chick-lit.’
For the most part the story could be considered quite formulaic, following the boy-meets-girl, or rather the girl-meets-boy storyline, where they fall in love, then out of love, and then back into love. Of course most books from this genre probably follow that same line, so Boyd shouldn’t be faulted for it. What makes or breaks a book of this genre, is the details that make their meeting and falling in love, unique.
When Mikayla first meets Jordan Baker (who shares a name with Nick Carraway’s love interest in The Great Gatsby), she’s reluctant to tell him she’s a celebrity, fearing he would either be turned off by the fact, or intimidated by it. So instead of stumbling through a series of misadventures in their dates, the reader follows the inner monologue of Mikayla, as she struggles with her ‘truth avoidance’ with the boy she loves.
The story is basically a more modern Notting Hill, told from the celebrity’s point of view. Instead of following the struggles of the commoner, dating the celebrity, we follow the celebrity, worried about the commoner.
The book was written in present tense, which gave it a very voyeuristic appeal. Instead of hearing an account of the events, after the fact, it gives the sense that one is right there, watching, almost participating, like a live sporting event. That, in turn, adds to the intimacy one develops for the main characters.
In the end, it’s the intimacy that makes the book work, as Boyd really allows the reader to get to know Mikayla, and thus really connect with the character. And she’s difficult not to like, making it easy to cheer for her, and be happy when things work out in the end.
While there is no shortage of similar style books, it’s nice to see one from a Canadian author; and a Calgarian to boot. I enjoyed that Mikayla was from Calgary, went to the U of C, and visited local Calgary haunts. Too often I see Canadian authors, especially new authors, almost attempt to hide the fact they are Canadian by setting their novels in nameless American locales. Plus, I always like a book that mentions my beloved Calgary Flames in a favourable light."
- Bryan Wright